Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 2 is now available in paperback and kindle

 


We are excited to announce that Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 2 is now available as a paperback and ebook (kindle). The paperback is £11.99 and the kindle is just £2.99. 

The contents of Volume 2 are:

Introduction by David A. Riley

The Essence of Dust by Mike Chinn

Highjacking the Lord of Light by Tais Teng

Out in the Wildlands by Martin Owton

Zale and Zedril by Susan Murrie Macdonald

The Amulet and the Shadow by Steve Dilks

Antediluvia: Seasons of the World by Andrew Darlington

A Thousand Words for Death by Pedro Iniguez

Stone Snake by Dev Agarwal

Seven Thrones by Phil Emery

The Eater of Gods by Adrian Cole 

Illustrations by Jim Pitts. 

Amazon.co.uk £11.99 paperback/£2.99 kindle

Amazon.com $16.97 paperback/$4.23 kindle


 

 

Saturday, 5 June 2021

My review of C. C. Adams' There Goes Pretty is in the latest issue of Phantasmagoria Magazine

The latest issue of Phantasmagoria Magazine includes my review of There Goes Pretty by horror writer C. C. Adams.

 

THERE GOES PRETTY by C. C. Adams

Dark Minds Press, 2021

 Not all ghost stories lead to misery, horror, and violent death – but there is never any doubt that these are exactly where There Goes Pretty is taking us.

 Set in present day London, with numerous name checks on eating places and other fashionable venues, it is not a world within which one would normally expect the supernatural to emerge, yet this is exactly what happens here, written with deceptive subtlety as newly married couple, Denny and Olivia find their new found joy subverted by something neither of them can understand.

 It begins with Olivia, who might just be suffering from hallucinations to start with, till she is subjected to a physical assault and realises she is either self-harming without knowing about it or being subjected to attacks by something preternatural that has evil intentions towards her.

A practical woman, though, Olivia is mystified why the manifestation can only be seen and felt by her, while her husband goes on with his life with no other worries than the state of his wife’s mental health, which he is totally ill-equipped to understand. An inevitable rift grows between them, which the manifestation is only too eager to exploit, sending Olivia deeper into a mental breakdown.

Only after this has reached its horrific conclusion does Denny begin to realise the grim reality of what is going on – but the results from his reactions, though dramatically different than his wife’s, are just as horrific.

 Some tales have no happy outcomes. Some tales you know don’t have this as an option. And so it is with There Goes Pretty, in which the horror accumulates to a bleak and deadly conclusion and a closing line that says it all.

 Well written, fast moving, and as bleak as hell, There Goes Pretty is grim, unsettling and incredibly gripping. 


 


Not long to go now before Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 2 is published




We are really excited that the print and kindle versions are all but ready to be published. An announcement of the launch of Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 2 is imminent.

The contents of Volume 2 are:

Introduction by David A. Riley

The Essence of Dust by Mike Chinn

Highjacking the Lord of Light by Tais Teng

Out in the Wildlands by Martin Owton

Zale and Zedril by Susan Murrie Macdonald

The Amulet and the Shadow by Steve Dilks

Antediluvia: Seasons of the World by Andrew Darlington

A Thousand Words for Death by Pedro Iniguez

Stone Snake by Dev Agarwal

Seven Thrones by Phil Emery

The Eater of Gods by Adrian Cole 

Illustrations by Jim Pitts. 

Volume 1 is still available:

amazon.co.uk

amazon.com

Parallel Universe Publications

 

 







 

Monday, 31 May 2021

Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 2 - its contributors


Here are some brief details of the authors whose stories will appear in Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 2, to be published in June.

Opening the collection is The Essence of Dust by veteran horror, fantasy, SF writer Mike Chinn. Mike lives in Birmingham, UK, with his wife Caroline and their tribe of guinea pigs. In 2012 he took early retirement so he could spend more time writing (and not housework). Over the years he has published over sixty short stories, as well as editing three volumes of The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes, and Swords Against The Millennium, also for The Alchemy Press. His own contribution to the Pulp Adventure genre, The Paladin Mandates, garnered two nominations for the British Fantasy Award in 1999, and Pro Se Productions have recently published a revised and extended edition. Pro Se also published the second Damian Paladin collection, Walkers in Shadow, along with his first Western, Revenge is a Cold Pistol

 In 2015, his Sherlock Holmes steampunk mash-up, Vallis Timoris (Fringe-works), sent the famous detective to the Moon. Parallel Universe Publications has also published a collection of his stories, Radix Omnium Malum.

Tais Teng (Highjacking the Lord of Light) is a Dutch SF writer and illustrator with, in his own words, the quite unpronounceable name of Thijs van Ebbenhorst Tengbergen, which he shortened to Tais Teng ’to leave room for a picture of an exploding starship or a clever steam-punk lady on the covers of my novels.’

In his own language he has written everything from radio-plays to hefty fantasy trilogies.

To date he has sold sixty-eight stories in the English language and two children's books: When the Nightgaunt Knows Your Name and The Emerald Boy. His YA novel Phaedra: Alastor 824, set in the universe of Jack Vance, has been published by Spatterlight Press.

His most recent sales have been to Daily Science Fiction, Unreal, Lowlife and Cirsova.

English website: http://taisteng.atspace.com/

Art: https://taisteng.deviantart.com/


Martin Owton (Out in the Wildlands) lives in the south of England. In addition to some 30 published short stories, he has written 3 published novels: 2 non-epic adventure fantasies, Exile and Nandor – ‘which could certainly be called sword and sorcery’ – and a con-temporary fantasy Shadows of Faerie set in Southampton and the New Forest. A former member of the defunct T-Party Writers Group, he is represented by Shiel Land Associates. In real life he is a drug designer for big pharma.                  

 

Susan Murrie Macdonald (Zale and Zedril) is only one of three writers who also had stories in our first volume. Susan is a free-lance wordsmith: ghost-writer, blogger, journalist. She has published roughly twenty short stories, mostly fantasy, but also some science fiction, westerns, romance, and children's stories. She is the author of R Is For Renaissance Faire, a children's book based on her four years as a volunteer with the Mid-South Renaissance Faire.  She is a stroke survivor, although she has been out of the wheelchair almost two years and can limp half a mile with the help of a cane.  She is an ex-copy editor and an ex-teacher.  She still works as a freelance proof-reader.  She is a staff writer for SciFi. Radio with over a hundred articles posted on their website. She is, of course, working on a novel; ‘isn't everyone?’

Susan lives in a small town in Tennessee about twenty kilometres from Memphis.  She is married to a travel agent and has a son and daughter of university age. She has had stories in Tales from OmniPark, Under Western Stars, Space Force: Building a Legacy, Cat Tails: War Zone, Wee Tales, The Caterpillar, Sirius Science Fiction, Itty Bitty Writing Space, Bumples, Alternative Truths, More Alternative Truths, Paper Butterfly, Sword and Sorceress, Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid, Barbarian Crowns, and Supernatural Colorado. 

The second writer also to have been included in our first volume is Steve Dilks (The Amulet and the Shadow). Steve has been published in Weirdbook, Startling Stories, Savage Realms Monthly, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly and Savage Scrolls. His novellas of Gunthar, the Black Wolf of Tatukura were collected together in the paperback Gunthar - Warrior of the Lost World. Another collection, this time featuring his sword-&-sorcery hero Bohun of Damzullah is due to be published under the title Bohun; The Complete Savage Adventures. His second Bohun story The Horror From the Stars appeared in volume 1 of Swords & Sorceries.

Andrew Darlington, whose Antediluvia: Seasons of the World is arguably the most unusual story in this collection, watched the very first episode of ‘Dr Who’, he also watched the most recent episode.    He says that whatever academic potential he may once have possessed was wrecked by an addiction to loud Rock ‘n’ Roll and cheap Science Fiction, which remain the twin poles of what he laughingly refers to as his writing career. He is most proud of his Parallel Universe collection A Saucerful Of Secrets. His latest book is a biography of the Beatles spin-doctor Derek Taylor: For Your Radioactive Children (SonicBond Books). His writing can be found at Eight Miles Higher

Andrew’s website is  http://andrewdarlington.blogspot.co.uk/

Pedro Iniguez (A Thousand Words for Death) is a speculative fiction writer who also enjoys reading and painting. His work can be found in magazines and anthologies such as Space and Time Magazine, Crossed Genres, Dig Two Graves, Tiny Nightmares, Deserts of Fire, and Altered States II. His cyberpunk novel Control Theory (Indie Authors Press, 2016) and his 10-year collection, Synthetic Dawns & Crimson Dusks, (Indie Authors Press, 2020) are available on Amazon.

Originally from Los Angeles, he now resides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he is currently working on his second novel.

Dev Agarwal is a science fiction and fantasy writer. His fiction has been published online and in magazines including Albedo One, Aoife’s Kiss, Aeon and, forthcoming, in Mithila Review. His non-fiction has been published online and in a variety of magazines.

Dev has been editing non-fiction for a number of years and is non-fiction editor for the magazine Khoreo. He is also the editor of Focus, the magazine for genre writers produced by the British Science Fiction Association.

His fantasy often draws on historical events. His story Stone Snake is the start of a series of adventures of the principal character travelling home.

Author of Seven Thrones, Phil Emery’s work has been published in the UK, USA, Europe, and Canada since the seventies. His particular claims to sword-&-sorcery infamy include appearances in the Rogue Blades’ anthologies Return of the Sword and Demons, and the experimental fantasy The Shadow Cycles, together with a doctoral thesis on the subject.  The sworder Zain first appeared in print in a 1972 story entitled Swords at Night.  Both he and his creator are a little longer-in-the-scabbard these days . . .     

 

Adrian Cole (The Eater of Gods) is the third writer who also appeared in volume one. He has been writing stories set in his own fantasy series such as the Voidal and Elfloq for many years, as well as reviving Elak, King of Atlantis, originally created by the late Henry Kuttner. Adrian’s first collection of Elak tales was published in 2020 by Pulp Hero Press to much acclaim. Though not sword and sorcery, his collection Nick Nightmare Investigates won the 2015 British Fantasy Award for best collection and he is a regular contributor to Weirdbook magazine, as well as having stories in anthologies such as Year’s Best Fantasy, Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Mammoth Book of Halloween, Occult Detective Quarterly Presents, and The Alchemy Press Book of Horror.

And, of course, there is the inimitable Jim Pitts. His amazing illustrations add much to the interior as well as the covers of this book. Jim’s career began in the 1970s when he created artwork for David Sutton’s ground-breaking fanzine Shadow. Since then he has contributed illustrations to an impressively wide variety of publications both here in the UK and overseas, particularly the United States. A hardback retrospective of Jim’s work, The Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts was published in 2017. This was split into two volumes for the soft cover version.  Later this year a second hardcover collection of Jim’s more recent work will be published by Parallel Universe Publications: The Ever More Fantastical Art of Jim Pitts.

The contents of Volume 2 are:

Introduction by David A. Riley

The Essence of Dust by Mike Chinn

Highjacking the Lord of Light by Tais Teng

Out in the Wildlands by Martin Owton

Zale and Zedril by Susan Murrie Macdonald

The Amulet and the Shadow by Steve Dilks

Antediluvia: Seasons of the World by Andrew Darlington

A Thousand Words for Death by Pedro Iniguez

Stone Snake by Dev Agarwal

Seven Thrones by Phil Emery

The Eater of Gods by Adrian Cole 

Illustrations by Jim Pitts. 

Volume 1 is still available:

amazon.co.uk

amazon.com

Parallel Universe Publications

 

Sunday, 2 May 2021

My review of Stephen King's novel Later was broadcast today on Big Hits Radio UK

Trevor Kennedy today broadcast my review of Stephen King's novel, Later on Big Hits Radio UK. For those who missed it this is my review:

LATER by Stephen King

Titan Books, Hard Case Crime Novels, 2021

Stephen King is never afraid of picking up a previously used trope and adapting it. In fact, he openly references the most obvious comparison to this particular trope, The Sixth Sense. Both that and Later revolve around a boy who can “see dead people.” Not only that, but whenever Jamie Conklin, who narrates Later in the first person, asks them questions they have to give him honest answers.

Of course, being a Stephen King novel things don’t pan out well and we soon discover there are horrors out there which can make use of the recently deceased, something which Jamie finds out to his cost.

I must admit I didn’t find this Stephen King book as engaging as I normally do, possibly because it is written in the first person and maybe, too, because he tries to make it read like something a non-literary person would write. But it does move at a cracking pace and there are certainly some unexpected twists and turns along the way. And at around 230 pages it is one of his shortest novels.

Unusually, I didn’t find that the villainous characters, including Jamie’s mother’s one time girlfriend, the corrupt cop Liz Dutton, or the serial killer Kenneth Therriault, known as The Thumper, came over as vividly as they usually do in King’s novels. Perhaps the na├»ve first-person narrative prevented this, as we only see things from Jamie Conklin’s juvenile perspective.

Nevertheless, for all of this the book is far from boring, and despite being published as a “hard case crime” novel is replete with supernatural horrors – more than enough to satisfy all but the most jaded of King’s fans. 

 

Trevor Kennedy publishes the fabulous magazine Phantasmagoria

 


 

Saturday, 24 April 2021

In-depth review of Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 1 on The Silver Key Blogsite

There is an excellent in-depth review of Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 1 on The Silver Key Blogsite, which ends with: "I am looking forward to volume 2, and hope that vol 1 sells well enough to encourage further volumes in the series - and helps spur the steady trickle of new sword-and-sorcery/heroic fantasy that we're currently seeing."To read the full review just click on this link

 

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

RIP John Pelan

I was shocked and saddened to hear that my old friend John Pelan had died.

John was instrumental in getting me involved once more in writing after I had more or less given it up till he contacted me about including the very first story I ever had published (in the 11th Pan Books of Horror back in 1970) in his two-volume anthology The Century's Best Horror Fiction, published by Cemetary Dance. He also included a new story of mine in his last anthology for Roc Books, Alone on the Darkside. We remained in steady contact for quite some time after this, as he was looking forward to publishing my first collection of short stories in his Midmight House Press imprint, but unfortunately his fortunes deteriorated at this time and, sadly, Midnight House and his other imprint, Silver Salamander Press closed down and he moved from Seattle to New Mexico, after which our contact became sporadic.

I will never forget the encouragement he gave me at a time when I needed it.

Monday, 29 March 2021

Winter on Aubarch 6 to be reprinted in The Martian Wave.

Just received an acceptance for a reprint of a science fiction story that first appeared in Fear magazine, edited by John Gilbert in 1989. Winter on Aubarch 6 will next appear in The Martian Wave edited by Tyree Campbell in the States.

 

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 2 - opens for submissions from the 1st of April till the 30th April



I can announce that volume 2 already has 4 stories accepted. These were tales that could not be fitted in volume 1. To compensate, though, it has been decided to make the second volume even longer than the first, so we are looking for at least another eight stories to include this time. 
Stories already accepted are:

THE ESSENCE OF DUST by Mike Chinn

HIGHJACKING THE LORD OF LIGHT by Tais Teng

OUT IN THE WILDLANDS by Martin Owton

IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST by Edward Ahern

 
 
New submissions for Swords & Sorceries Volume 2 open on the 1st April and will close on the 30th of that month.



Payment is £25 per story regardless of length, plus a contributor's copy. The book will be published as a paperback and ebook. If a hardcover version is published we will pay an additional £25. Contributors can also buy additional copies of the book through us at cost price. 

Please send your submissions to:

paralleluniversepublications@gmx.co.uk

Please keep formatting as simple as possible, but we are not fussy. Just don't make it unnecessarily fancy or complicated. We just want an easy to print-off copy we can read.

There is no limit on the size of submissions.

Any stories accepted will be reformatted by us anyway for publication.

Please send your story as an attachment, headed "Submission - Swords & Sorceries 2"

And good luck!

 

To get a better idea of the kind of stories we are likely to publish in this anthology check out volume 1:

  

 

The contents of Volume One are:

INTRODUCTION - David A. Riley

THE MIRROR OF TORJAN SUL - Steve Lines

THE HORROR FROM THE STARS - Steve Dilks

TROLLS ARE DIFFERENT - Susan Murrie Macdonald

CHAIN OF COMMAND - Geoff Hart

DISRUPTION OF DESTINY - Gerri Leen

THE CITY OF SILENCE - Eric Ian Steele

RED - Chadwick Ginther

THE RECONSTRUCTED GOD - Adrian Cole

The cover and all the interior artwork is by Jim Pitts. 
 
amazon.co.uk

amazon.com

Parallel Universe Publications